Irish Setters, also known as Red Setters, are elegant, energetic red-haired gun dogs. While they were originally bred as bird hunters, they have evolved to become loveable family companions. And this is thanks to their playful, loving, loyal, and happy nature.
But before you bring this lovely pet into your home, you need to know a few key details about them to determine whether they are the right breed. A canine’s shedding is one important factor that most people seem to neglect, yet it can greatly affect your lifestyle. Knowing how much a particular dog shed is vital, from having to clean up every time to dealing with allergies.
So, do Irish Setters shed? Yes, and they are considered moderate to heavy shedders. They will shed fairly consistently throughout the year with one or two blowouts to prepare for seasonal changes. Several things, including climate and diet, will affect how much your Setter sheds, but expect to find fur on your furniture, floors, clothing, and anywhere else the dog visits.
The Irish Setter is a famously good family pet that gets along well with other dogs and children. Thanks to their brilliant coat of mahogany or chestnut, they are also described as one of the most beautiful breeds. But one thing you might not like about this sweet pup is their shedding.
These dogs seem to work overtime when it comes to shedding, especially in spring and fall when they drop a lot of furs. But don’t let this discourage you from adopting one. This article will explore the following topics: how much they shed, their shedding season, and what you can do to manage the shedding. Without further ado, let’s jump right in:
How Much Do Irish Setters Shed?
As mentioned earlier, Irish Setters are moderate shedders throughout most of the year. But like other double-coated breeds, they tend to shed more during seasonal changes in spring and fall as they blow their coats. While they don’t shed as much as other dogs, the color of their fur is commonly red, and its length is medium to long, which makes it more noticeable than dogs with shorter, finer, and darker-colored fur.
Additionally, they are large dogs, and the large surface area means more fur to lose overall. This is not the breed for you if you don’t like fur floating around the house because, even with grooming, you will find hairs on your furniture, clothes, beddings, and carpets.
The exact amount Irish Setters shed will vary from one dog to the next, depending on their genetics, overall health, and the climate they live in. Some owners say their Setter’s shedding is moderate, while others say it’s a lot.
Why Do Irish Setters Shed?
Shedding is a dog’s natural way of getting rid of loose, dead hairs and allowing for new, healthier ones to regrow in their place. Your Irish Setter will also shed as a natural response to sudden climate changes. In winter, they grow a thick coat and later shed it off in summer to avoid overheating.
Aside from the natural shedding, your doggy could also be shedding due to an underlying problem. This is known as unhealthy shedding and should be addressed as soon as possible. It’s important to monitor your canine’s shedding to tell if something is amiss.
Shedding Seasons and Frequency
When do Irish Setters shed? These dogs typically shed consistently year-round, but they experience one or two coat blowouts before major weather changes. Just before winter, they shed to grow heavy and dense hair that will keep them warm in the cold temperatures. Once winter is gone and they no longer need the heavy jacket, they will get rid of it in spring to grow thinner and finer fur to help keep them cool in hot weather.
As you can see, climate change is a huge factor that affects dogs’ shedding. If you live in cold regions, your Setter might shed less as it holds onto the fur to stay warm. But if you live in hot areas, he will shed a lot more to get rid of as much hair as possible so they can stay cool. Either way, having dog hair floating around your home is inevitable when living with an Irish Setter.
Another shedding season you should watch out for is when your dog is getting rid of his puppy coat to grow an adult one with stronger fur. Puppy coats are not designed to shed since the puppies still don’t know how to regulate their body temperature properly. There may be some hair drop from the start, but expect a huge shedding season at months 8-12 when the Setter sheds to grow his adult coat.
High shedding might seem like a normal occurrence in this breed, especially during seasonal shedding, but it could also be a sign of an underlying problem. There are several causes of unhealthy shedding, including stress, poor diet, hormonal changes, parasites, allergies, etc. Serious illnesses like cancer and some immune diseases also have hair loss as one of their symptoms.
Needless to say, if your Setter is shedding more than usual, you should take them to the vet as soon as possible. Since this is a moderate-high shedder, how will you know if their shedding is unhealthy? Any shedding accompanied by other symptoms such as bald spots, skin irritation, open sores, or dry and dull hair should be accessed. Also, shedding high amounts outside of the shedding seasons indicates a problem.
What Type of Coat Does an Irish Setter Have?
A beautiful coat is one of the physical traits that make this breed one of the most beautiful dogs in the world. Irish Setters are double-coated with an undercoat that is dense in winter and a topcoat that is fine and silky. Their coats tend to feather in places such as the tail, ears, chest, and legs while being moderately long and straight on the rest of the body. The official colors for their stunning, silky coats are mahogany, rich chestnut, and red.
How to Manage and Reduce Irish Setters Shedding?
We’ve already seen that all dogs shed, so there’s nothing you can do to stop this from happening; neither should you try. But you can certainly manage the situation, so there’s less fur floating around your home. If you put into practice the following tips and form healthy habits, the dead hairs shouldn’t cause you much stress.
Irish Setters Grooming
Brushing is the first step to managing and reducing shedding. It gets rid of dirt and debris and allows you to capture loose hairs before they end up on your floors and furniture. Additionally, brushing helps spread the natural oils of dogs’ coats all over their skin. This encourages healthy fur and prevents dry skin, which would otherwise lead to excessive shedding.
This breed requires some effort to groom due to their long coat, which is prone to mats and knotting. Brush your Setter 3-4 times a week and daily during seasonal shedding to keep up with the increased shedding.
The best brushes to use are an undercoat rake and a slicker brush. The former does a great job removing dead fur from the undercoat, while the latter is used at the end of the routine to keep the topcoat tangle-free.
Irish Setters Diet
A well-balanced diet is a must for any canine. Ensure your Irish Setter eats good quality dog food that keeps protein high, fat moderate to high, and carbs low. One important nutrient that helps facilitate skin and hair health is omega-3 fatty acids. It helps keep coats shiny and alleviates possible skin problems that might lead to unhealthy shedding.
Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, sardines, anchovies, soybeans, chia seeds, etc. Vegetables like cooked sweet potatoes and Zucchini are also useful as they contribute vitamins and minerals that will help keep the animal’s fur healthy.
Like humans, dogs can be allergic to certain foods, which can cause skin conditions. Skin problems are likely to contribute to unhealthy shedding, so keep an eye on what your pup eats.
If you’re unsure what and how much you should be feeding your Irish Setter, consult with your vet about the best diet.
In addition to the above tips, a bathing regime will help reduce shedding. Like brushing, it allows you to capture loose fur before it sheds and is spread all over your home. But be careful not to overdo it, though. Overbathing will strip their skin of the natural oils, leaving it dry and prone to shedding. Irish
Setters should be bathed once every 6-8 weeks unless they roll in mud or something smelly. While you’re at it, use a shampoo specifically made for dogs and not human shampoo. The latter is harsh on dogs’ sensitive skin and can leave it vulnerable to parasites, bacteria, and viruses, thus encouraging unhealthy shedding.
If your dog already has a balanced diet, supplements like omega fatty acids will boost their skin and fur health. But always consult with your vet before making any dietary changes or giving your doggy any supplements.
Another additional tip is providing sufficient exercise. This is an indirect way of managing shedding. Exercise keeps the body working and helps with blood circulation, thus enabling nutrients to reach the skin and fur to keep them healthy. Exercise also reduces stress, which is one of the causes of excessive shedding.
Are Irish Setters Hypoallergenic?
When researching ‘how much do Irish Setters shed,’ you may also want to know whether they are hypoallergenic. This is especially true if you or someone in your household has pet allergies.
Unfortunately, Irish Setters are not considered hypoallergenic because they are moderate to high shedders. The allergens don’t actually come from the fur but dander, saliva, and urine. These allergens attach themselves to the fur and are released into the environment during shedding. So, generally, the less fur a dog sheds, the better it is for allergy sufferers.
Does this mean you have to give up on your dream of owning this lovely pet? If you have severe allergies, I recommend breeds classified as hypoallergenic such as the Maltese, Poodle, Afghan Hound, Basenji, etc.
On the other hand, people with mild allergies can find ways to live with this animal. It’s necessary to regularly groom your canine and remove dander and all those loose hairs that can cause allergies. You can also reduce the allergens in your environment through regular vacuuming and investing in a HEPA air filter.